Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Ivory King Review

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Ivory King Review

By Francis Morgan

The Dark Souls games can be rather polarizing, but it is a series near and dear to my heart regardless. Boasting gorgeous locales, engaging combat, and a healthy amount of difficulty, I find myself returning to it every few months. This is especially true of Dark Souls 2, and though it had undeniable flaws, I thought it improved on several of the more notable weaknesses of its predecessor.

The Crown of the Ivory King, the last of a series of DLC released for Dark Souls 2, lives up to the series pedigree, but that doesn't mean it is free of its own share of problems.

Crown of the Ivory King introduces players to the icy stretches of the Painted World of Ariamis. Ariamis is teeming with original lore, and though some of it is expressed to the player with all the subtlety of a brick to the face, it is rather tightly scripted and engaging.

The environments are simply gorgeous - some of the best in the series. I found myself marveling at the snowy landscapes more than once over the course of the campaign, and it somehow manages to maintain a level of variety despite the near-constant view of white. From dark, claustrophobic corridors to open fields caught in violent snowstorms, you'll rarely see the same thing twice when it comes to Ariamis' level design.

The same could not be said for the enemy design, however. Crown of the Ivory King utilizes an array of ice-coated foes, but most of them are merely enemies recycled from parts of the original Dark Souls II painted various shades of white. While this doesn't get in the way of game play, more original creatures would have been preferred.

In the end, The Crown of the Ivory King is a worthy addition to the series. It's gorgeous, it has some interesting lore, and is one of the more difficult parts of the series, if that's something that interests you. A minor flaw here or there ultimately doesn't detract from an enjoyable adventure.

 I give Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Ivory King 3 out of 4.